Lowbush Blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium

Lowbush Blueberry

Vaccinium angustifolium

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist, Dry
Color: White
Fragrance: No
Height: 1-2 feet
Spacing: 2 feet

Lowbush Blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium, is a small deciduous shrub is ½-2 feet tall with spreading leafy branches. Habitats include sand prairies, shrub prairies, sandy savannas, sandy woodlands, rocky upland woodlands, rocky bluffs, sand dunes along Lake Michigan, and bogs.

The trunk and branches of older shrubs are often woody with shredded bark, while young shoots and twigs are green to brownish red, terete, and finely warty. Sometimes the twigs and shoots are slightly short-pubescent. Alternate leaves along the twigs and shoots are ¾-1½ inches long and about ¼-¾ inches across; they are elliptic in shape and very finely serrated along their margins. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves are medium to dark green and glabrous (or nearly so). The short petioles are up to 1/8 inch in length.

Small clusters of nodding flowers develop from the preceding years twigs. Each flower is about ¼-inch long and a little less across, consisting of a short green calyx with 5 teeth, a short-tubular corolla that is white or pinkish white. Afterwards, fertile flowers are replaced by globoid berries up to 1/3-inch across that become dark blue with a whitish bloom at maturity. At this time, the fleshy interior of each berry is juicy and sweet and it typically contains 10-15 tiny seeds.

The root system is usually shallow and spreading, although a taproot may develop on an older shrub. Vegetative colonies are produced from underground runners. The deciduous leaves often become red or burgundy during the autumn.

Lowbush Blueberry is sometimes the dominant understory shrub in some of these habitats, especially when they are sandy. This shrub becomes more abundant in response to occasional wildfires and the openings that such wildfires create.

How to harvest lowbush blueberries.
A blueberry rake, which looks like a dustpan with rake-like tines, makes the picking process less difficult. Because many of the low-growing varieties are firm or semi-firm, they stand up relatively well to this slightly less-than-delicate type of harvesting. The raking method takes some skill and a proper stance, so that you don’t end up with an aching back, more leaves than berries and blueberry juice.

 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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